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  1. #1
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    Dec 2014
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    Default Upgrading to GFCI protection for a home built in the 80's

    On a recent inspection I recommended upgrading the kitchen counter outlets to be GFCI protected. The seller's electrician replied;

    Hi Doug: please pass this on to the inspector, sales and new home owner. Per our conversation, your house was built in 1987. The city of Glendale was building all houses at that time with the 1981 national electric codes. At that time GFI’s wear not required in the kitchen. The inspector did make a mention of this in his summary report. That this would be an upgrade and was not required during construction of your house. he also mentions that it is mandated by current standards. What he fails to mention is the wiring practices of the 80’s makes it impossible to just upgrade to GFI protection. And in fact would cause nothing but nuisance tripping of the main kitchen breakers. We also feel that the inspectors job is to inspect a house based on the requirements of that time period. If we’re required to upgrade all our homes to today’s standards, you would not have a resale market.

    I was not aware of "nuisance tripping". Can anyone enlighten me?


    Norm


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  2. #2
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    Aug 2008
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Upgrading to GFCI protection for a home built in the 80's

    Not exactly sure what wiring method or practice would prevent the installation of gfi protection. The code also requires the gfi protection to be installed if the receptacle is simply replaced.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Upgrading to GFCI protection for a home built in the 80's

    What the electrician is saying is:

    Gosh, if you install GFCI protection on these circuits you will expose the incorrect wiring practices we used back then.

    That those incorrect wiring practices may keep tripping the GFCI devices ... that would really be a nuisance to us electricians because we would need to check the circuits and correct what we did wrong back then as a matter of practice.

    Back to your world ... tell your client that if the GFCI trips and keeps tripping ... it is telling you that it is saving your life and you need to call a real electrician - not the bozo the seller called - and have the wiring checked out.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
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    Mar 2007
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    Santa Rosa, CA
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    2,479

    Default Re: Upgrading to GFCI protection for a home built in the 80's

    Quote Originally Posted by Norm Peery View Post
    On a recent inspection I recommended upgrading the kitchen counter outlets to be GFCI protected. The seller's electrician replied;

    Hi Doug: please pass this on to the inspector, sales and new home owner. Per our conversation, your house was built in 1987. The city of Glendale was building all houses at that time with the 1981 national electric codes. At that time GFI’s wear not required in the kitchen. The inspector did make a mention of this in his summary report. That this would be an upgrade and was not required during construction of your house. he also mentions that it is mandated by current standards. What he fails to mention is the wiring practices of the 80’s makes it impossible to just upgrade to GFI protection. And in fact would cause nothing but nuisance tripping of the main kitchen breakers. We also feel that the inspectors job is to inspect a house based on the requirements of that time period. If we’re required to upgrade all our homes to today’s standards, you would not have a resale market.

    I was not aware of "nuisance tripping". Can anyone enlighten me?

    Norm
    The beauty of this is that the electrician put it in writing. I have NEVER received a written response from an electrician. Just the seller's agent telling me "the electrician said..."

    Now the electrician is on the hook.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    az
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    3

    Default Re: Upgrading to GFCI protection for a home built in the 80's

    Thanks guys. I had basically told my buyer and Agent that this guy was off base, but I know the day I stop learning, you all will be talking about me in the past tense.

    Norm


  6. #6
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    Mar 2012
    Location
    Lansdale, PA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: Upgrading to GFCI protection for a home built in the 80's

    The only practice I can think of would be shared neutrals if the GFCI was providing protection for downstream circuits.

    I do not call the lack of GFCI protection a defect unless it is reasonable to expect that it should have been present. I do recommend it as a safety improvement. I think you start down a slippery slope when you start calling present code requirements defects in older houses.


  7. #7
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Upgrading to GFCI protection for a home built in the 80's

    Quote Originally Posted by Norm Peery View Post
    On a recent inspection I recommended upgrading the kitchen counter outlets to be GFCI protected. The seller's electrician replied;

    Hi Doug: please pass this on to the inspector, sales and new home owner. Per our conversation, your house was built in 1987. The city of Glendale was building all houses at that time with the 1981 national electric codes. At that time GFI’s wear not required in the kitchen. The inspector did make a mention of this in his summary report. That this would be an upgrade ...
    The electrician agreed with your report on the above aspect: you called for "upgrading" and the electrician agreed with you ... that's a start.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
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    Mar 2007
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    Plano, Texas
    Posts
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    Default Re: Upgrading to GFCI protection for a home built in the 80's

    Their electrician is full of it.
    A properly installed and functioning GFCI outlet will not nuisance trip.
    AFCI devices can be a problem to retrofit but it can be done.

    The "electrician" could have installed a couple of GFCI outlets in less time than it took to write the letter (given his exhibited grammatical skills).

    I'm glad our state requires a few safety things be called out and even have a letter explaining the reason for the requirement.

    APPROVED BY THE TEXAS REAL ESTATE COMMISSION (TREC)P.O. BOX 12188, AUSTIN, TX 78711-2188 TEXAS REAL ESTATE CONSUMER NOTICECONCERNING
    HAZARDS OR DEFICIENCIES

    Each year, Texans sustain property damage and are injured by accidents in the home.While some accidents may not be avoidable, many other accidents, injuries, and deathsmay be avoided through the identification and repair of certain hazardous conditions.Examples of such hazards include:

    • malfunctioning, improperly installed, or missing ground fault circuit protection (GFCI)devices for electrical receptacles in garages, bathrooms, kitchens, and exterior areas;
    • malfunctioning arc fault protection (AFCI) devices;
    • ordinary glass in locations where modern construction techniques call for safety glass;
    • malfunctioning or lack of fire safety features, such as smoke alarms, fire-rated doorsin certain locations, and functional emergency escape and rescue openings inbedrooms;
    • malfunctioning carbon monoxide alarms;
    • excessive spacing between balusters on stairways and porches;
    • improperly installed appliances;
    • improperly installed or defective safety devices;
    • lack of electrical bonding and grounding; and
    • lack of bonding on gas piping, including corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST).
      To ensure that consumers are informed of hazards such as these, the Texas Real EstateCommission (TREC) has adopted Standards of Practice requiring licensed inspectors toreport these conditions as “Deficient” when performing an inspection for a buyer or seller,if they can be reasonably determined.
      These conditions may not have violated building codes or common practices at the timeof the construction of the home, or they may have been “grandfathered” because theywere present prior to the adoption of codes prohibiting such conditions. While the TRECStandards of Practice do not require inspectors to perform a code compliance inspection,TREC considers the potential for injury or property loss from the hazards addressed in theStandards of Practice to be significant enough to warrant this notice.
      Contract forms developed by TREC for use by its real estate license holders also informthe buyer of the right to have the home inspected and can provide an option clausepermitting the buyer to terminate the contract within a specified time. Neither theStandards of Practice nor the TREC contract forms requires a seller to remedy conditionsrevealed by an inspection. The decision to correct a hazard or any deficiency identified inan inspection report is left to the parties to the contract for the sale or purchase of thehome.


    05-04-15


    [IMG]file:///page1image23064[/IMG]

    This form has been approved by the Texas Real Estate Commission for voluntary use by its license holders. Copiesof TREC rules governing real estate brokers, salesperson and real estate inspectors are available from TREC. TexasReal Estate Commission, P.O. Box 12188, Austin, TX 78711-2188, 512-936-3000 (http://www.trec.texas.gov)


    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  9. #9
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    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Upgrading to GFCI protection for a home built in the 80's

    If, as posed in another post, the circuits are multiwire circuits (far more common in the 1970's and 1980's in single family than today), a double pole 120V/240V breaker could be installed to protect the circuit and all outlets on the circuit.

    The common practice since then has been to mostly install 120V circuits - a GFCI receptacle device can then be installed at any receptacle without any issues.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Location
    Maryland
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    Default Re: Upgrading to GFCI protection for a home built in the 80's

    Even a MWBC can work with gfis as long as the neutral is spliced before the circuits split.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Upgrading to GFCI protection for a home built in the 80's

    Here in WA State we are required to make the recommendation to install GFCI receptacles at all required locations, no matter what age home is built.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Upgrading to GFCI protection for a home built in the 80's

    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Tarter View Post
    Here in WA State we are required to make the recommendation to install GFCI receptacles at all required locations, no matter what age home is built.
    We installed GFCI outlet in our home in all locations required by the current code. The house was wired in 1965. There have been no issues.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    il
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: Upgrading to GFCI protection for a home built in the 80's

    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Tarter View Post
    Here in WA State we are required to make the recommendation to install GFCI receptacles at all required locations, no matter what age home is built.
    We recently recommend installing GFCI protection for all ungrounded three prong receptacles in a 1950's house and the sellers electrician quoted a price of $5600 to rewire the whole house. Another electrician installed four GFCI breakers for a total cost of $280 at the suggestion of our buyer.

    You have to remember that most electricians are trained on the job by other electricians that were trained on the job and con-ed is basically unheard of. In Illinois electricians are not required to be licensed, therefore we verbally explain three fixes for ungrounded two wire circuits to our customers.

    1 replace 3 prong receptacles with 2 prong receptacles
    2 install GFCI receptacles in the lead position of a circuit
    3 install GFCI breakers in the breaker panel

    What do you do

    Don Hawley
    www.hawleyhomeinspectionsllc.com


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